Balvenie Castle is a ruined castle
situated near the town of Dufftown.
Balvenie is entered through an unusual double-leafed yett. The pend
passes through the 4th Earl of Atholl’s Lodging, which has a fine round tower at the external
corner and a smaller stair turret in the inner re-entrant. The cobbled courtyard is surrounded
by buildings, some more ruinous than others.
Balvenie Castle History
The Comyns built the original castle, known as Mortlach, in the 12th
Part of this may survive in the present courtyard, but alterations
were made to it over the centuries. In the 16th century Balvenie was extended by the addition
of a domestic block (to the left of the entrance).
The Atholl lodging was added to the right of this between 1547 and
1557, the windows having decorative stonework and small orioles at second floor level. There
are heraldic panels on the walls.
The ruinous west range probably dates from the 15th century and then
contained a kitchen, brew house, and great chamber with the hall above. Only low walls of these
buildings survive. In the courtyard is a deep well.
Balvenie was originally a Comyn seat, followed by the
Douglas’s, but in 1470 it was granted to John Stewart, later 1st Earl of Atholl. Mary, Queen of
Scots stayed in 1562. The castle remained in Stewart hands until 1610 after which it had
numerous owners until bought by Alexander Duff.
The Balvenie Castle was used as a garrison
during the Jacobite rebellion but was abandoned following Culloden, as Duff had erected a
classical Balvenie House nearby in 1724. The Duke of Fife placed the castle in state care in
Balvenie Castle Map&Location
Directions: Castle Rd, Moray AB55, UK
Approximate Geographic Coordinates: 57.453145,-3.124411
Balvenie Castle in a larger map